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Civil servants to be paid in coupons
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08:34, February 11, 2009

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Civil servants in Hangzhou are to receive part of their wages in shopping vouchers, the city's Party chief Wang Guoping said on Monday.

"About 5 to 10 percent of their salaries will be paid in the form of consumption coupons," Wang was quoted as saying by the Metropolitan Express.

"The Party chief and the mayor will take the lead and all civil servants will follow," he said.

"By doing this, we are showing firms that we are fighting the difficulties with them."

Wang, speaking at a conference about a 100-million-yuan ($14.6 million) stimulus plan launched before the lunar new year. The coupons have been distributed to people to encourage spending, especially on locally made goods.

More than half of the coupons have already been spent, Chen Jinmei, director of a local financial bureau, said.

A total of 29,500 coupons, each with a face value of 20 yuan, were used to buy products costing more than 1,000 yuan between Jan 24 and Feb 3, she said.

As of Sunday, 1,707 Hangzhou-made home appliances, with a total value of 2.02 million yuan had been sold, doubling the number sold in the same period of last year.

Four shopping malls have received 1.52 million yuan worth of coupons, redeemed against 5.4 million yuan worth of goods, she said.

"Coupons are playing a vital role in boosting consumption and more should be distributed," Wang was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

He suggested paying civil servant with consumption coupons and also giving them to the poor and unemployed.

Shou Xuejun, an official with a local financial bureau, said that they are investigating the possibility and methods of the expanded stimulus policy.

"We have not achieved any results yet," he said.

A civil servant surnamed Wang said she was unwilling to receive consumption coupons as part of her salary.

Zhou, another civil servant, said he does not like the idea either. "I am at an entrance level and the pay is low," he said.

"Combined with the bad economy, being paid in coupons will make the situation even worse," he said.

Source: China Daily

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